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  • Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    [More columns]Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/23/2009

    NFL games are won through the air. The game has changed. Rushing for 3 yards and a punch in the mouth is the equivalent of black-and-white television in a flat-screen, high-definition TV world.

    Roll over, Vince Lombardi.

    We saw this new reality verified again Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome, when the Arizona Cardinals lost starting quarterback Kurt Warner — and their offense — for the second half. And the Cardinals managed to hold on for a 21-13 victory because the Rams are incapable of putting together a dangerous or consistent passing attack.

    In the first half, Warner pretty much did what he wanted to the Rams defense, completing 15 of 19 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. And Warner's unstoppable passing set up 126 yards worth of first-half rushing (at 8.4 yards a pop) as the Cardinals streaked to a 21-3 lead.


    But Warner got dinged on an Arizona TD drive late in the half, suffered concussion-like symptoms and didn't return. His replacement, Matt Leinart, handed off to the backs, flipped some short passes and avoided doing anything stupid. The Cardinals did not score in the second half.

    On the other side, the Rams had Marc Bulger completing only 19 of 37 passes. He threw a bad interception. He did not throw a touchdown pass. He made a lot of grumpy faces. And he completed only one of four passes in the red zone.

    The Rams continue to squander valuable opportunities to score. This season Bulger has completed only eight of 27 passes in the red zone, and it's no coincidence that the Rams have the NFL's worst red-zone scoring percentage, or that they are averaging only 11.3 points a game.

    Sunday's game offered a nice refresher course on two points:

    — To the folks out there who insist that Warner needs great receivers to be successful: Please watch the second half of Sunday's game again and tell me where the Arizona wideouts were. They disappeared. Arizona's offense completely changed when Warner departed. The Cardinals stopped taking chances. The downfield passing attack vanished. The running game turned sluggish. Warner's receivers — especially Larry Fitzgerald — are spectacular. But do not forget Warner's excellence in getting the rock to them with perfect timing and precision. Warner emboldens Arizona's offense; the team personality changes when he isn't there.

    — I'll say it again: The Rams need to draft and develop an elite quarterback, and they must draft and cultivate an elite wide receiver. Without a new pitcher and catcher in place for 2010 and beyond, this team will remain behind the times.

    The top eight passing teams in the NFL have a combined 59-20 record through Sunday. And then you have the Rams, who are stuck in a primordial age of football.

    Steven Jackson is a strong power back. He breaks tackles, piles up yards and has crashed the 1,000-yard barrier for the fifth consecutive season. Since the start of the 2005 season, Jackson is third in the NFL in rushing yards, and he's second in total yards from scrimmage. And despite Jackson's admirable efforts, the Rams are 20-54 over that time.

    The Cardinals, all but laughing at the very notion that the Rams could hurt them in the passing game, brought both safeties up to the line of scrimmage to wrestle with Jackson. And Jackson had to be extra tough in rushing 24 times for 116 yards and a TD. The Cardinals put up a gantlet.

    An NFL team with a respectable passing attack would have burned the Cardinals for having the audacity to brush off the threat of the forward pass.

    But the Cardinals knew they had nothing to worry about with Bulger and this crew of receivers. Bulger had some moments, threw a few impressive strikes in the second half, and he got knocked around quite a bit. He played in pain. That's always worthy of respect. But Bulger finished the game with a putrid passer rating of 57.8. And if Bulger wasn't underthrowing receivers, the receivers were running poor routes, or the QB and the wideouts were having communication issues.

    Unless this changes, Steven Jackson is destined to go down as the Floyd Little of his era. Little — a finalist for 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame consideration -- was a superb back who took a beating in donating his valiant career to a losing cause for the Denver Broncos from 1967 through 1975. The Broncos, inept in other areas, went 42-64-5 with Little in the lineup.

    On a day when Jackson clinched his franchise-record fifth consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, he walked out of The Ed with another loss in his gut. The Rams are wasting Jackson's talent.

    All in all it was a disappointing day for the 1-9 Rams. The final score was misleading; without the Warner injury, this is a blowout.

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo and staff weren't sharp. Spagnuolo should have challenged a remarkably poor spot of the ball by the officials on a third-down running play that denied the Rams a first down at the Arizona 22-yard line. The Rams came away with no points. And there were multiple debatable decisions on whether to kick a field goal or go for a first down or touchdown.

    An eight-point loss to a playoff-bound team was a step back for the Rams, who will continue to lose ground until they make a commitment to go airborne by joining the NFL's new world order.
    :ramlogo:

  • #2
    Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Originally posted by eldfan View Post
    — To the folks out there who insist that Warner needs great receivers to be successful: Please watch the second half of Sunday's game again and tell me where the Arizona wideouts were. They disappeared. Arizona's offense completely changed when Warner departed.
    Um... your logic is off there Bernie.

    The second half proved that, even with great WRs, a sub-par QB (Leinart) might not have great success.

    It did not prove that Warner could succeed with sub-par WRs (presumably a reference to the Rams' WRs). The proof of that would be if Warner played without Fitzgerald and Bolding and still lit it up.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

      Bearnie simply echos a group of people who dont no what they are talking about, or dont actually watch the games, just so he can secure that he has a job from a year to year basis. God forbid he ever right something truthful and honest about the situation, like how bulger is the uncontested leader of this team, or how he completed an unbelievable three 4th down conversion on one drive, or how he is working with a group of young receivers, or maybe how he is working behind a line that lets him get pummeled in 4 and 3 man rush's.

      Looks we all know we need a new qb, but bulger is the best we have. SO how bout the one that dont like him for whatever reason choke down this season and wait until the draft, when in all likeliness we will draft a qb in the 2nd round.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

        Bernie is an idiot worthy of ignoring. Anyone can complain about 4th down calls, doesn't make you intelligent to find something to complain about after a loss.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

          Bernie is just another idiot who thinks drafting a QB first round is going to solve all the problems. How does this guy have a job talking about sports? I also was thinking the same thing Avenger when i read that the offense stopped in the 2nd half. That had nothing to do with Warner coming out it was who went in for him. If Peyton Manning went in for him in the 2nd half id imagine their numbers wouldve of been about equal

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

            Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
            Um... your logic is off there Bernie.

            The second half proved that, even with great WRs, a sub-par QB (Leinart) might not have great success.

            It did not prove that Warner could succeed with sub-par WRs (presumably a reference to the Rams' WRs). The proof of that would be if Warner played without Fitzgerald and Bolding and still lit it up.
            Well, it sort of does validate his point about drafting an elite QB. You can put an average QB with the best WR corps in the NFC and they don't produce in the second half behind that average QB like they did with an elite QB in the first half. According to this, does that mean an elite QB makes things go? Sort of. See how Chris Simms did yesterday with that Broncos offense. Bad scene. At least Orton had them competitive even though they had tailed off.

            Not everyone can get lucky like the Pats and put someone in last year that hadn't played since HS and still make the offense go.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

              Originally posted by txramsfan View Post
              Well, it sort of does validate his point about drafting an elite QB. You can put an average QB with the best WR corps in the NFC and they don't produce in the second half behind that average QB like they did with an elite QB in the first half. According to this, does that mean an elite QB makes things go? Sort of. See how Chris Simms did yesterday with that Broncos offense. Bad scene. At least Orton had them competitive even though they had tailed off.

              Not everyone can get lucky like the Pats and put someone in last year that hadn't played since HS and still make the offense go.
              Leinart was the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft. If anything your statement just proves that drafting an "elite QB" (as Leinart supposedly was) is a crapshoot.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

                My favorite line in that GARBAGE article:
                On the other side, the Rams had Marc Bulger... He made a lot of grumpy faces.
                Grumpy faces? Really? Wow. Excellent writing Pat.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

                  Originally posted by tim View Post
                  Leinart was the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft. If anything your statement just proves that drafting an "elite QB" (as Leinart supposedly was) is a crapshoot.
                  Drafting anyone is a crapshoot. Drink up folks.....


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

                    The game against the Cards is a real measuring stick for where this team is right now ...

                    Sure, if Warner had played the rest of the game, it might have been a blowout. Or the coaches for the Rams may have adjusted at the half, it's hard to tell. But with Warner in the game, standing upright, and flinging passes all over the field, the Cardinals are one of the best teams in the league. They've been playing better and better as the season goes on. The Rams don't currently have the personnel and depth on defense to shut down the Cards. And, I would venture to believe, that in 8 out of 10 games with Warner in their, the Cards would walk away with victory ...

                    This is because Warner is SPECIAL ...

                    You put Leinart in the game, and look what happened. Suddenly, the Cards were ordinary on offense, and the entire team went from being one of the better in the league, to average, or maybe slightly above average ...

                    And how did the Rams respond to this? This played that Cardinal team neck and neck in the second half ...

                    So, what are the Rams at this point? Probably a below average team, but definitely not a bottom feeder in my opinion. We are a whopping 18 points away from being 5-5 right now. We stood up to an average Cardinals team with Leinart in there. Had Leinart played this whole game, I have no doubt we take it ...

                    Comment

                    Related Topics

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                    • RamWraith
                      No glory, only gloom for Rams
                      by RamWraith
                      With Kurt Warner at the helm, Cardinals put up 31 straight points to bury his old team
                      BY STEVE KORTE - News-Democrat

                      ST. LOUIS -- On a day that former coach Dick Vermeil was honored, former quarterback Kurt Warner reminded everyone at the Edward Jones Dome how the St. Louis Rams' glory days are a thing of the past.

                      Warner threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns as the Arizona Cardinals took command of the NFC West with a 34-13 win over the Rams on Sunday.

                      The Cardinals rolled up 510 yards of offense against the Rams, who managed only 210 yards of offense as their running game never got in gear because of injuries.
                      "We had no running game whatsoever, and if you're going to throw the ball all day, you're going to get some turnovers," Rams coach Jim Haslett said.

                      That was Haslett's way of saying that when quarterback Marc Bulger is your leading rusher, you're in trouble.

                      Bulger committed three turnovers -- two interceptions and a fumble -- that led to 10 points for the Cardinals.

                      "That just killed us," Haslett said of the turnovers. "They're averaging 28 points a game, and then you turn around and have three turnovers, two of them that led to points."

                      Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson played despite a thigh injury, but he clearly wasn't himself as he had only seven carries for 17 yards.

                      Antonio Pittman suffered a hamstring injury on the first play of the game. He had 10 carries for 12 yards.

                      That left Bulger with three carries for 32 yards as the team's top rusher.

                      By contrast, the Cardinals rushed for 177 yards, including 22 carries for 109 yards and one touchdown from rookie running back Tim Hightower.

                      Hightower was the Cardinals' first 100-yard rusher since Edgeriin James ran for 102 yards on Dec. 30, 2007 against the Rams.

                      The Rams hit the halfway point of the season with a 2-6 record, three games behind the Cardinals (5-3) in the NFC West.

                      Asked how the Rams can keep their heads up in the second half of the season, Haslett said, "They're professionals. They get paid. They're going to come out and play hard every game, and they're going to practice that way. If they don't, if someone doesn't do it, we'll get someone else to do it."

                      It was vintage Warner as the man who led the Rams to a pair of Super Bowl appearances completed 23 of 34 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns. His quarterback rating was 120.0 for the game.

                      "It is a little bit like that," Warner said of comparing the Cardinals' current offense to the Rams' Greatest Show on Turf. "We have a long way to go to get where we were with the Rams in those three seasons (1999-2001) where we were flying high, but there are times where there are glimpses of what we did then.

                      "All I...
                      -11-03-2008, 04:20 PM
                    • RamWraith
                      Bulger flops in Warner's presence
                      by RamWraith
                      By Jeff Gordon
                      STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
                      11/02/2008

                      With Kurt Warner returning to the Edward Jones Dome as a Cardinal, all eyes were on Rams quarterback Marc Bulger.

                      And what those eyes saw was really unfortunate.

                      Bulger was ineffective Sunday. So were many of his teammates, including hobbled running back Steven Jackson.

                      They offered little resistance as Warner led the Cardinals to a critical 34-13 NFC West victory.

                      “They kicked our butts,” Bulger told reporters. “We had an early lead and in the second quarter we kind of fell apart.”

                      Actually, the Rams TOTALLY fell apart. So Arizona, 5-3, built on its commanding division lead and the Rams, 2-6, virtually kissed off their hopes of contending for postseason play.

                      Myriad factors created this blowout, but the disparity of quarterback play was huge.

                      Warner starred on the day the Rams placed former coach Dick Vermeil on their Ring of Honor. The quarterback of the “Greatest Show on Turf” teams turned back the clock and threw the ball all over the fake grass field.

                      He reminded fans what they have been missing in recent years. He left St. Louisans nostalgic for the good old days of Mike Martz’s high-scoring offense.

                      “We have a long way to go to get where we were with the Rams in those three seasons when we were flying high,” Warner said. “But there are times where there are glimpses of what we did then. All I have been trying to do since I left there is recapture some of the specialness that we had. We’ve got moments of it now.”

                      Warner completed 23 of 34 yards and two touchdowns. He kept bombing away until the Rams defense finally cracked.

                      At the expense of his old team, Warner, 37, continued his unlikely quest for a Pro Bowl berth. Rams management believed the two-time MVP was finished back in 2004, but it was wrong.

                      Five seasons after leaving St. Louis, Warner looked as good as ever.

                      As for Bulger, well . . . he was just awful, again. Fans will continue their call for back-up Trent Green after this fiasco.

                      Bulger threw an interception that Arizona returned for a touchdown. His second-quarter fumble led to a Cardinals field goal.

                      After throwing an early 80-yard touchdown pass to Derek Stanley, he struggled through one bad offensive sequence after another until the game got out of reach.

                      Overall, he was 16 of 33 for 186 yards. He suffered two sacks and threw two interceptions.

                      The Rams could have aided Bulger’s cause by establishing a ground game, but they did not. Jackson’s return from his quadriceps injury (on a part-time basis) did not energize the offense. In fact, he dropped a first-down pass and a TD pass.

                      When Bulger leads the team in rushing, that is not a positive sign. (Warner, by comparison, got 171...
                      -11-03-2008, 05:19 AM
                    • RamWraith
                      Jubilation fades in loss to Big Red
                      by RamWraith
                      By Bernie Miklasz
                      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                      Monday, Nov. 03 2008
                      Jim Haslett's first month on the job had been good for the Rams. The team
                      surged under their new head coach, winning his first two games. The energy
                      level was up, the vibe was positive, and Rams Park became a happier place.

                      Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome, reality checked back in and slapped the Rams
                      upside the head. The Rams were picked apart by old friend Kurt Warner and
                      humiliated 34-13 by the marauders from Arizona.

                      Bill Bidwill's first-place Cardinals haven't lost at The Ed since 2004; they're
                      more successful in St. Louis as the visiting team than they were as the home
                      team from 1960 through 1987.

                      With a few minutes left, The Ed had all but emptied out, and the Rams' second
                      straight loss drained the optimism that had gotten frothed up by the wins over
                      Washington and Dallas.

                      At halftime Sunday the Rams honored their beloved former coach, Dick Vermeil.
                      But instead of playing like DV's inspirational 1999 Super Bowl champions, the
                      Rams looked more like Vermeil's listless, disoriented 1998 squad that went 4-12.

                      The Rams defense was plundered for 510 yards by Warner and a bullish Arizona
                      running game. After an 80-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown by young wide
                      receiver Derek Stanley, the Rams offense disappeared into a deep and depressing
                      funk.

                      Quarterback Marc Bulger slipped further into his extended state of mediocrity,
                      and in the second quarter the Cardinals exploited Bulger's two ruinous
                      turnovers to take command of the game and the NFC West. The Rams had no
                      blocking and no ground game; Steven Jackson tried to play hurt but wasn't
                      effective.

                      It made for an ugly day. Once upon a time, Rams fans engaged in a good-natured
                      debate about the team MVP: was it Warner or running back Marshall Faulk? It was
                      a difficult decision. But nowadays there's a different kind of debate over the
                      quarterback and running back; fans can't decide whether they want to boo Bulger
                      or Jackson.

                      Those harsh sounds of discontent returned to the Ed in full throat, creating a
                      homefield disadvantage for the Rams.

                      "Hopefully we can do better and keep them in their seats," rookie defensive end
                      Chris Long said.

                      That's going to take a while, Chris.

                      The Rams are 2-6 and must face up to a disturbing truth: There are no quick
                      fixes to remedy this depleted roster. Yes, there is some talent in the house.
                      There's Long. The young wide receivers are exciting, and Jackson can be a force
                      on occasion. There's some speed on the defense. And when everything flows, and
                      the defense is forcing some turnovers, the Rams can be competitive.

                      But...
                      -11-03-2008, 11:26 AM
                    • Nick
                      [CBS]: Cardinals fumble away chance to beat Rams
                      by Nick
                      Cardinals fumble away chance to beat Rams
                      Sep. 24, 2006
                      CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

                      GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Marc Bulger and Kurt Warner took turns trying to fumble the game away Sunday. Warner succeeded.

                      The Arizona quarterback, who threw three interceptions, fumbled a snap at the Rams 18 with 1:46 to play and Will Witherspoon recovered to allow St. Louis to hold on and beat the Cardinals 16-14.

                      Arizona's Antonio Smith recovered Bulger's fumble at the St. Louis 30 with 1:58 to play and Edgerrin James carried three times to the 18. Bulger said he was thinking of how he was going to face his teammates when Warner dropped Alex Stepanovich's snap and Witherspoon jumped on the ball for St. Louis (2-1).

                      "I feel like I hit the lottery," Bulger said.

                      The Cardinals were stunned.

                      "I couldn't believe it," defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. "I was tapping myself in the head like `Wake up! That's not reality.' That's definitely something you see on a video game -- but it happened."

                      The game ended strangely with Arizona taking a fair catch on a punt as time ran out. Under an obscure rule, that would have given the Cardinals a free kick, and Neil Rackers was ready to take a shot at a 77-yard field goal.

                      But Arizona was offsides on the punt. After considerable confusion, the Rams decided to take the penalty and Bulger took a knee to end it.

                      It was a fitting conclusion for a game that featured six turnovers, four of them by Warner.

                      "Any one of those four plays, if I don't make them, we probably win this football game," Warner said.

                      "It was a good snap," he said of his last play. "I just fumbled it."

                      One of his interceptions came with Arizona at the Rams 13, another at the St. Louis 1.

                      Afterward, Cardinals coach Dennis Green was furious.

                      "I don't think I've been so angry since I've been here, and I've had some (bad) days since I've been here, believe me," he said. "But none of them compares to this."

                      Bulger was 21-of-31 for 309 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions, and Warner was 19-of-28 for 256 yards and one score.

                      Torry Holt caught eight passes for 120 yards, including a 9-yarder for St. Louis' lone touchdown.

                      Coach Scott Linehan said the team used a few plays from the old "Greatest Show on Turf" offense that Mike Martz used to run.

                      "I think coach did a good job of going back to some things we hooked up on in the past," Holt said. "He (Bulger) can close his eyes and know that I'm there."

                      Anquan Boldin had 10 receptions for 129 yards for Arizona.

                      Warner left the field to more than a few catcalls from fans calling for rookie Matt Leinart...
                      -09-24-2006, 10:14 PM
                    • RamWraith
                      Edward Jones Dome is Kurt Warner’s House
                      by RamWraith
                      By Bernie Miklasz


                      In Kurt Warner’s first NFL start, he threw three touchdown passes in the 1999 season opener to air lift the Rams past the Baltimore Ravens. Little did we know what this would lead to. The game was played at The Edward Jones Dome, and nearly 10 years later, Warner is still ripping the place up.

                      Sunday Warner completed 23 of 34 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns and no INTs as his Arizona Cardinals owned the Rams 34-13. Warner’s passer rating for the game was 120.0 I did a quick check and this was one of Warner’s best games at The Ed. The 342 yards represented his eighth-highest total in the venue.

                      In 31 games at the Edward Jones Dome, Warner has completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 8,731 yards and 66 TDs for a passer rating of 102.5. And how about this stat? Warner’s team has a 27-4 record at The Ed. As a Ram, Kurt was 24-4 in home games (23-4 as the starter), and the Cardinals are 3-0 when Warner plays in St. Louis.

                      The Edward Jones Dome is to Warner what Asbury Park is to Springsteen.

                      Moving on …

                      – It was awesome to see Dick Vermeil, and inspiring to see the way the crowd responded to him during Sunday’s halftime ceremony. Definitely the highlight of the day. And DV, bless him, came through by having to pause to choke back the tears when he addressed the audience. What a great human being he is.

                      – Since the start of the 2007 season, Rams QB Marc Bulger has a passer rating of 72.4. He’s moving into Tony Banks territory. During Banks’ three seasons as the Rams starter (1996-1998), he had a QB rating of 70.2. As the starter, Bulger is 1-7 in home games since the start of last season.

                      – Excluding the early 80-yard TD grab by Derek Stanley, the Rams netted only 106 yards passing on their other 32 passing attempts Sunday. And Bulger’s QB rating for the game was 60.9. And the Cardinals had been poor against the pass this season. Before Sunday, they’d given up an average of 230 yards passing per game (21st in the NFL) and quarterbacks had a whopping 108.6 passer rating against them. But the Rams couldn’t get much going through the air. Bulger was terrible, the blocking was awful, the receivers had some drops, the play calls were puzzling,

                      – Did anyone understand the Rams’ play-calling strategy on Sunday? I sure didn’t. I have no idea what Al Saunders was up to. The Rams opened the game by trying to pass to the tight ends and the fullback. They do not have tight ends who can reliably get open or catch the football. And the fullback, Dan Kreider, has caught 16 passes since the end of the 2004 season. Meanwhile, the Rams ignored wideout Torry Holt for the entire first half. And after falling behind 31-7, the Rams clearly needed to pick up the tempo and go no-huddle and pass the ball. Instead, Saunders apparently decided that it was time to establish the run. They ran Antonio Pittman...
                      -11-03-2008, 05:17 AM
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